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NATO working to develop brain injury prevention guidelines for military members

UVA researcher on panel to develop guidelines
Howitzer Blast
Posted at 9:01 AM, Mar 23, 2021

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is working to develop guidelines for preventing serious brain injuries in military members and they're asking a University of Virginia researcher to help.

Dr. James Stone is an imaging expert at UVA Health and has been studying traumatic brain injuries in service members as well as how blast exposures affect the brain.

NATO has asked Stone to be part of a group to develop the guidelines for reducing the risk of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, which is a serious and often fatal brain disease caused by repeated concussions and brain injuries.

"We know that a career of exposure to these types of things, impacts and blasts, can have changes. What we're really trying to identify is where along that spectrum do you start to actually manifest some of these changes, and how can we, through the NATO panel, help to develop guidance for the collective community that can help to mitigate some of these issues," Dr. Stone said in an interview with News 3 anchor Todd Corillo.

The goal is to develop a framework to limit the exposure of military members to situations and activities that could lead to traumatic brain injuries and CTE.

With 30 European and North American countries in NATO, Dr. Stone sees this as a collaborative opportunity to create even greater impact across allies.

"One of the things that we'll be able to do is to help to bring that experience to all of the NATO member countries to learn what their experiences are, to learn what their specific needs are, and to be able to bring some of this foundational research that our group and others have been doing over the last decade and a half to the NATO community so it's not just to the benefit of a single country but it's to the benefit of all of the NATO member countries," Dr. Stone told Corillo.

The recommendations from the NATO panel are expected by the end of 2023.